For those who are familiar with intrigues in our national politics would know the price of championing a fundamental change in the method of governance. In Nigeria’s political circle, blame game is an intrinsic part of governance. Successive administrations usually want to make everyone believe that the problems bedeviling the nation were caused by their predecessors, as if people who voted them out do not know.
This has been the governance template since the second republic.Today, Nigerians wake up every day to read stale news of how the previous administration wreaked damage to our body politic and economy. We have since voted out these rogues some three years ago, and little or no fresh news of what the present administration has done in building a stronger nation is often said.
We dream of a nation where everybody takes up the responsibility of building a rewarding future for generations to come. In ensuring irreversible development and sustainable growth of this great nation, critical thinkers within and outside the state have agreed that all hands need to be on deck, rather than engaging in blame game that has taken us nowhere.
For developed nations around the world, whatever success stories we hear are not a product of the effort of a certain class or category of people, it has been the collective responsibility of everybody, because the success of a state isn’t the success story of a selected few, rather, collective accomplishment.
In clear words, the aim of Nigerian youths when clamouring for an active participation in governance and leadership of our beloved country is to intensify efforts in ensuring the success of our nation. The youth have woken up from their slumber, and are ready to contribute their quota to ensure Nigeria stands tall again.
With the signing of Not-Too-Young-To-Run Bill into law, last Thursday, by President Muhammadu Buhari, the coast is now clear for young people to engage in high-level activities to bring back the lost glory of our nation.
We owe the president a great deal of appreciation for exercising the political will in bringing this aspiration into reality. Since the president took the oath of office, a lot of things have transpired, and it would be unfair and irrational to say Buhari has done nothing in office.
Beyond the fight against corruption, the president has also made efforts to combat the menace of terrorism in the Northeast. His political party promised to change and overhaul governance processes, but we still battle corruption, insecurity and unemployment, among others. Efforts, no doubt, have been channelled towards ensuring things get changed, but not much has changed and we still battle some of the challenges that made us to vote out previous administration.
Personally, I am optimistic Nigeria can stand again, if we start putting the right things in perspective, one of which entails allowing young people to participate in the politics and governance of our country. A number of countries are soaring, given the impact their youths have made in politics and business. It is puzzling why we pushed our own youth away from politics.
It may have taken Nigerian youth a while to understand their place in the development of this nation, but in those times, they were waiting both patiently and impatiently for the time they would have the opportunity to be a part of the decision-making, so they may implement their brilliant thoughts and ideas.
But, they have quickly realised that the tomorrow they were waiting for has started in the present. This is what has led to the birth of the movements for youth inclusion in the governance of our nation.
Notable among these movements is the Not-Too-Young-To-Run campaign, which began as far back as 2009, with the advocacy for age reduction in the 1999 Constitution. By May 2016, the campaign for age reduction began in the National Assembly and a bill was introduced to push this agenda.
The long journey has reached the end stage with the successful passage of the Bill by both the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly. Now, the President has assented to Bill as required by the law. Suffice to say that the progress, growth and development of this nation now lie on our collective shoulders – young and old.
I, alongside many other youths, appreciate President Buhari for keeping the promise to give assent to this important bill that will change the course of event in our dear country. It will give our youths the opportunity to play their part in actualising the Nigerian dream. The youth are the assurance we need to help our country move to even greater heights.
God bless Nigeria.
Abideen is the Kwara State Coordinator of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Campaign